South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and Ashleigh Simon will have to pull something incredibly out of the hat if they hope to catch up to red-hot Hyo Joo Kim at this week’s Evian Championship in France.
The 19-year-old South Korean racked up 10 birdies at Evian Resort Golf Course to take a four shot lead in the first round of the season’s final Major on Thursday.
Her record-setting flawless 10-under-par 61 is the lowest round ever recorded in men’s and women’s Major history and an 18-hole tournament record at the redesigned course.
Minea Blomqvist set previous record at 62 during the 2004 Ricoh Women’s British Open and Lorena Ochoa equalled it at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2006. The lowest round on the men’s circuit was a 63 by Johnny Miller in the final round of the 1973 US Open at Oakmont, but it has been matched multiple times in all four Majors.
Karrie Webb from Australia carded a 65 to finish second, while MJ Hur from South Korea finished in third with a 66.
The South Africans, meanwhile, got off to a sluggish start in Evian-Les-Bains.
Pace disrupted 14 pars with bogeys at the third, 17th and 18th and a lone birdie putt at the second for share of 73rd with Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg, Pornanong Phatlum from Thailand, Julie Greciet from France and Korea’s Ji Young Oh.
Simon reeled in two birdies against four bogeys, but a double bogey finish at the 18th dropped the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner to a tie for 83rd with 12 other players.
Australian Nikki Campbell, who will be teeing it up at the Cell C SA Women’s Open from 16-19 October with her caddie this week – South Africa’s top ranked Stacy Bregman – also finished among the baker’s dozen at four over.